Russia holding up Turkish goods at border as relations sour
MOSCOW (AP) — Customs officials along the Russian border are scrutinizing Turkish goods due to "various reasons" including a possible terrorist threat, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
Relations between the two countries soured after Turkey on Tuesday shot down a Russian warplane on a bombing mission near the Syria border. One of the pilots was killed, the other was rescued.
Russian media reported hundreds of trucks bringing Turkish goods stranded at the border. In Georgia, customs officials reported that trucks with Turkish number plates driving via Georgia to Russia cannot get through. A statement issued by the Georgian finance ministry's excise service said some trucks that can't get into Russia are driving back to Azerbaijan and Turkey while hundreds are deciding to wait in the neutral zone between Russia and Georgia.
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, insisted Thursday that there is no ban on Turkish goods but said customs officials were inspecting them carefully "due to various reasons" including a possible terrorist.
"This is only natural in the light of Turkey's unpredictable actions," Peskov said.
He said, however, that he "was not aware" of any discussion in the government of possible sanctions against Turkey.
Last year, Russia imposed a ban on food imports from the U.S. and EU nations in retaliation for their sanctions over Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
Misha Dzhindzhikhashvili contributed to this report from Tbilisi, Georgia.